ARSENAL HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

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Antonio Luna statue

It was on October 12, 1967 that the ground breaking materialized in the Arsenal at the spot where the statue of General Antonio Luna now stands.


Main gate

The Government Arsenal (GA) is located on a 370-hectare defense industrial estate in Lamao, Limay, Province of Bataan, about 120 km from Manila by land, 70 km from Subic and 90 km from Clark. Just three km from the Port of Limay, the Arsenal is strategically situated near the Petron Bataan Refinery, the Bataan Combined Cycle Power Plant, the National Power Corporation Plant, the Petro-Chemical Complex, and the Special Economic Zone at Mariveles, Bataan. To sustain its operations, the GA presently maintains and operates 124 buildings and structures sprawled over 70 hectares of land.

A creation of Republic Act No. 1884 which was signed into law on June 22, 1957, the Arsenal is a line bureau under the Department of National Defense. However, it was only about a decade later, on March 7, 1967, that a presidential proclamation on its present site at Limay, Bataan was declared. Accordingly, on October 12, 1967, the ground breaking materialized at the spot where the statue of General Antonio Luna now stands. Site preparations were subsequently undertaken by the 514th and 564th Engineering Construction Battalions of the 51st Engineering Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Construction of essential buildings and facilities then followed along with training abroad of selected military and newly hired civilian personnel on the manufacture of small arms ammunition (SAA).

On August 15, 1971, or fourteen (14) years after the enactment of RA 1884, the first SAA cartridge rolled out of the GA's production assembly line. Three years later, the integrated SAA manufacture began, with all the components - case, primer, propellant powder, and bullet assembled into a complete cartridge - manufactured in the arsenal.

As a strategic resource, the arsenal is envisioned to be a center for defense industries to meet domestic requirements and supply the world market. In line with this vision, the GA explored in the early 1980's, the possibility of exporting excess production, improving ammunition technology and expanding the capability for weapons production as called for in its charter. However, the impediments under the then existing laws prevented any real progress in this direction.

It is fortuitous that on February 23, 1995, Republic Act 7898, otherwise known as the AFP Modernization Act, was enacted. RA 7898 likewise provides for the modernization of the Government Arsenal for the development of production capabilities to enhance self-sufficiency in defense requirements. Specifically, Section 12 of this Act mandates that "the government arsenal shall be utilized in the production of basic weapons, ammunition and other munitions for the use of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP), and for the sale and export of products in excess of AFP/PNP requirements." Furthermore, the GA is authorized to use such production facilities as it may own or be provided under the law or as it may arrange under joint venture, co-production or similar arrangements with local and foreign entities.